LIAM O’NEILL bagged a try in each half to help his side pick up their third National Division 1 win of the season against Richmond at Dry Leas on Saturday.
The Hawks again showed that in their driving mauls they could put Richmond on the back foot and when they secured the ball moving forward they exploited the blind side of a maul 15 metres from the Richmond to feed the fast approaching O’Neill to adroitly catch a speculative pass to score a try fairly close to touch. James Comben converted from close to touch.
The game, which had not showed any great handling skills livened up when Richmond scored within nine minutes in a similar fashion to what the Hawks had achieved in the prelude to their try with wing Callum Wilson dashing in after a forward drive. Richmond’s Tom Platt could not add the two extra points.
The Hawks consolidated their lead as the second half proceeded through the boot of Comben with penalties in the 53rd and 66th minutes as the visitors infringed in defending the first from 48 metres, giving them a 13-5 lead. Their enterprise was rewarded when they scored what was in effect the match winning try in the 66th minute.
This started when replacement flanker Tommy Haynes smuggled a ball away from a maul just outside the Hawks 22 to Stapely. Prop Alex Penny took the ball up with a bruising run through would-be tacklers. McNally drove into the Richmond half where he slipped the ball to man-of-the-match O’Neill who left a trail of Richmond players in his slip stream before touching down close to the corner.
With the conversion missed the score at 18-5 gave the Hawks a comfortable lead.
It was left to Richmond to finish the scoring when wing Wilson scored his second try when he chased a kick ahead over the line beating Martin Nutt to the touch down.
This Saturday Henley Hawks entertain league leaders Doncaster Knights at Dry Leas (kick-off 3pm).
For a full match report and preview to the weekend’s game, see this week’s Henley Standard.